Trump Administration orders new sanctions on North Korea

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President Trump ordered new economic sanctions Thursday against any bank or other company doing business with North Korea, in response to Pyongyang's renegade nuclear program.

The move is designed to tighten the economic screws on North Korean leader Kim Jon Un, in hopes of halting his development of nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them.

"For much too long, North Korea has been allowed to abuse the international financial system to facilitate funding for its nuclear weapons and missile programs," Trump said. "Tolerance for this disgraceful practice must end now."

Trump made the announcement during a lunchtime meeting in New York with leaders of South Korea and Japan — two U.S. allies that have been rattled by North Korea's nuclear saber rattling.

He also said China had taken steps to limit financing to North Korea, citing a surprise directive from the Chinese Central Bank. China is North Korea's number one trading partner.

Trump signed an executive order expanding the authority of the U.S. Treasury Department to target individuals, banks, and other companies that finance or facilitate trade with North Korea.

"Our new executive order will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea's efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind," the president said.

While the sanctions could affect businesses throughout the world, Trump said they're squarely aimed at Pyongyang.

"I want to be clear. The order targets only one country and that country is North Korea," Trump said. "Foreign banks will face a clear choice: Do business with the United States or facilitate trade with the lawless regime in North Korea and they won't have so much trade."

Last week, North Korea launched a ballistic missile high over Japanese territory.

"North Korea has continued to make provocations, and this is extremely deplorable," South Korean President Moon Jae-in said through an interpreter. "But the U.S. has responded firmly and in a very good way."

Trump kidded Moon about his use (or his interpreter's use) of the word "deplorable."

"That's been a very lucky word for me and many millions of people," Trump said.

During his speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump warned that the United States would "totally destroy" North Korea if forced to defend itself or its allies against a nuclear attack. But he held out hope that could be avoided through economic and diplomatic pressure.

Trump praised the U.N. Security Council for passing two recent resolutions against North Korea that the president called "hard hitting." But he added additional measures would be necessary to rein in North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"We must do much more," Trump said. "It is time for all nations to work together to isolate the Kim regime until it ceases its hostile behavior."

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is scheduled to brief reporters later Thursday.

This story has been updated.


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